Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to restore ties after China-brokered talks

Embassies to reopen in move that could have wide implications for Iran nuclear deal and Yemen war

Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two great oil-producing rivals of the Middle East, have agreed to restore ties and reopen embassies seven years after relations were severed.

The agreement came after Chinese-brokered talks held in Beijing. “As a result of the talks, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies … within two months,” Iran’s state news agency Irna reported, citing a joint statement.

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Outgoing president of Micronesia accuses China of bribery, threats and interference

In his letter, Panuelo openly canvassed the country switching its diplomatic recognition from Beijing to Taipei

China is engaged in “political warfare” in the Pacific, the outgoing president of the Federated States of Micronesia has alleged in an excoriating letter, accusing Beijing officials of bribing elected officials in Micronesia, and even “direct threats against my personal safety”.

Two months before his term as president expires, David Panuelo’s letter alleged China was preparing for conflict over the island of Taiwan, and that its goal in interfering in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) was to render the country neutral in any potential Pacific war.

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Xi Jinping handed unprecedented third term as China’s president

Coronation sets up Xi, who has overseen consolidation of power, to become modern China’s longest-serving head of state

Xi Jinping has been handed an unprecedented third term as president, capping an ascent in which he has become China’s most powerful leader in generations.

In a carefully choreographed ceremony in Beijing, Xi held up his right fist and placed his left hand on a red leather copy of China’s constitution. In the oath – beamed live on state television across China – he vowed to “build a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilised, harmonious and great modern socialist country”.

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Free college and IVF help: China hunts for ways to raise its birthrate

High costs and career impacts remain barriers to having children for many women despite Beijing’s efforts to lift its record-low birthrate

At China’s annual parliamentary meeting this week, proposals to boost China’s falling birthrate have come thick and fast. On Wednesday, the All China Women’s Federation, a state-backed organisation, called for a national publicity campaign to “advocate a positive concept of marriage and childbearing”, through film and television. Other delegates to China’s parliament have called for tax breaks for companies that employ more mothers, opening up maternity insurance to college students, free college education for families who have a third child born after 2024 and allowing unmarried women to access fertility services.

Last year China’s birthrate fell to 6.77 per 1,000 people, the lowest on record. In 2022 the population shrank by 850,000, the first decline since 1961, a year of famine.

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Biden budget includes billions for Pacific islands in bid to ‘out-compete’ China

Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau stand to benefit as White House warns of Beijing’s intent and ability to ‘reshape the international order’

Alarmed by China’s success in wooing Pacific island nations, the Biden administration is proposing to spend billions from its federal budget to keep three of those countries in the US orbit.

President Joe Biden’s spending plan, released on Thursday, includes more than $7.1bn in funding for the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. The money is included in the $63.1bn request for the state department and the US Agency for International Development.

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Ex-Goldman banker given 10 years in prison for role in 1MDB fraud scandal

Roger Ng, 50, found guilty by Brooklyn jury in massive embezzlement linked to Malaysian state investment fund

Roger Ng, the former Goldman Sachs banker at the center of the multi-billion 1MDB embezzlement scandal, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday, placing a capstone on one of the largest and most bizarre financial frauds of the past decade.

A jury in Brooklyn, New York, found Ng, 50, from Malaysia, guilty of violating US anti-bribery laws, money laundering and illegally skirting Goldman’s accounting controls, after a seven-week trial.

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Trudeau faces fury of Canadian MPs over alleged Chinese election meddling

Prime minister faces accusations of not taking issue seriously amid reports of 11 candidates receiving Chinese money

• Canada roiled by leaked intelligence reports of Chinese election ‘meddling’

Justin Trudeau is under mounting pressure to explain how seriously his government has responded to the threat of Chinese interference in Canadian elections in the wake of damning intelligence leaks.

Allegations that the prime minister’s government has failed to act on meddling efforts featured prominently in a raucous session of parliament on Wednesday, as concern over Beijing’s efforts to undermine Canadian elections continues to dominate the country’s politics.

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